This afternoon a co-worker asked me why I always looked so excited about my salads because when she makes them, they just never seem appealing. I wish I could say it was because I love greens so much that I would eat them plain- but let’s face it, it’s not that. It’s really all about that toppings. To me, the toppings make the salad, much more than the dressing does, which I can often live without. So in an effort to help her out, here are my salad essentials.
1. Cheese- I am a total cheese addict. Have you ever played that game where someone asked you what food you couldn’t live without? My answer is always cheese, so it is only fitting that it would be first on my list. I’m open to most cheeses but some of my salad faves are feta, goat, parmesan and brie. Have you seen the mini wheels of brie from Trader Joes yet? They are AMAZING. And trust me, I’m an expert.
2. Nuts & Seeds- I love a little crunch in my salads so I always try to include some nuts or seeds. I love the unsalted almond slivers from TJs or pecans. Also, since getting involved in the blog world, I’ve learned about the wonders of chia seeds so I generally add 1-2 tbsp as well.
3. Vegetables- I’ll admit that my salads aren’t always piled high with extra veggies, but mostly because I don’t love raw vegetables. However, I do love grilled ones, so if I have grilled asparagus, zucchini, etc on hand, I load them up. I’m a big fan of artichoke hearts and hearts of palm as well, and since those are usually jarred or canned I try to always keep them around. (Confession- I love hearts of palm so much that sometimes I slice them up and just eat them plain…)
4. Fruit- I’m a big fan of the whole sweet/savory combination so I love to add dried cranberries or cherries to my salads. I’ve also taken a cue from all the restaurant salads I tend to eat and add sliced apples or pears.
5. Protein- In order for my salad to have some staying power, it has to have protein. And while the nuts can help get me there, I need more than that to keep my energy up. I like to play around with my protein, but I enjoy edamame, grilled chicken, cut up turkey lunch meat or a crumbled veggie burger.
All of this talk of toppings is making me hungry for another type of toppings- frozen yogurt toppings! I’ll save that for another day, but you can bet that chocolate is included in many forms!
– What are your must-have salad toppings? Do you have any favorites that I missed?